Judge approves plan to withdraw Charlie Gard life support
Mr Justice Francis said the time had come for a decision to be made.
Terminally-ill baby Charlie Gard could soon be moved to a hospice and allowed to die.
A High Court judge set a timetable for the final stage of 11-month-old Charlie’s life after what could have been the final hearing in the case on Wednesday.
Mr Justice Francis has heard that Charlie’s parents and doctors at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London cannot agree on hospice care plans for the youngster.
In response to all of the comments re: Charlie Gard, please see the latest GOSH position statement: https://t.co/VxiFsv3Wt4— GOSH (@GreatOrmondSt) July 26, 2017
The judge said Charlie will move to a hospice if the dispute cannot be settled by noon on Thursday and life-support treatment would end shortly after he arrives.
Mr Justice Francis, who has analysed disputes at hearings in the Family Division of the High Court, said the time had come for a decision to be made.
Charlie’s parents Connie Yates and Chris Gard wanted to be given time to reach agreement over end-of-life plans for their son.
Ms Yates walked out of Wednesday’s hearing in tears after the judge set the timetable. She yelled: “I hope you are happy with yourselves.”
Ms Yates and Mr Gard had initially said they wanted 11-month-old Charlie to spend days with them at home before dying.
Great Ormond Street doctors said it was not practical to provide life-support treatment to Charlie at the couple’s home for days. They said a hospice would be a better plan, and they said life-support treatment should end shortly after Charlie arrived at a hospice.
Lawyers representing the couple on Wednesday told Mr Justice Francis about a change of heart. They said the couple now wanted a move to a hospice. But they said Charlie’s parents were still in dispute with doctors over the detail of hospice care plans.
Grant Armstrong, who led Charlie’s parents’ legal team, said the couple wanted to privately fund care at a hospice where Charlie could continue to receive life-support treatment for days before being allowed to die.
He said a doctor was ready to help and several Great Ormond Street nurses had volunteered their services.
Great Ormond Street bosses said they were not satisfied that a properly-qualified specialist would be in control under Charlie’s parents’ plan.
A lawyer in the couple’s legal team said discussions about mounting an appeal against Mr Justice Francis’s decision not to allow more time were taking place. Relatives said an appeal had been mounted for a specialist to come forward.
Charlie’s parents became embroiled in the new fight with doctors earlier this week, a day after abandoning attempts to persuade the judge to let their son travel to America for experimental treatment.
Mr Gard and Ms Yates, who are in their 30s and come from Bedfont, west London, had asked Mr Justice Francis to rule that Charlie should be allowed to undergo a therapy trial in New York. Doctors at Great Ormond Street said the therapy would not help. They said life-support treatment should stop.
The couple abandoned their legal fight on Monday after concluding that Charlie had deteriorated to the “point of no return”.